The Healthy Kitchen: 35 Best Foods to Stock in Your Fridge and Pantry
In the Fridge
- Skim or 1 percent milk or fortified soy milk.
- Fresh fruit. Keep at least one kind of fruit washed, cut, and stored in a clear plastic container where your kids can see and grab it.
- Hummus. Dip carrots in this chickpea spread.
- Low-fat yogurt. Mix fresh fruit into vanilla or plain.
- 100 percent fruit juice. Dilute it with water or seltzer. Try pre-diluted Wadda Juice single-serve bottles or Mott's for Tots boxes for car trips.
- Bagged salad. Look for darker greens like baby spinach or a mix of multicolored lettuces like mesclun or field greens.
- Lunch meats like turkey and lean roast beef.
- Tortillas. They're a fun alternative to bread.
- Fresh veggies. Buy your own to wash and chop. Or pick up prewashed, precut veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, and celery to serve as a snack, toss into salads, or steam.
- Low-fat cheese. Stock reduced-fat block cheese such as Cracker Barrel 2 percent milk cheese, reduced-fat string cheese, Laughing Cow minis, and part-skim shredded cheese.
In the Pantry
- Whole-grain crackers. Choose brands with at least 2 grams of fiber (and no trans fats) like Ryvita, Wasa, Kashi TLC 7-Grain, and low-sodium Triscuit.
- Whole-grain pasta such as high-fiber Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Pasta or Barilla Plus, which has extra protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Reduced-fat salad dressing. Low-fat ranch makes a great dip.
- Oatmeal. Choose whole oats or unflavored instant.
- Whole-grain bread. Check labels for brands that have at least 2 grams of fiber per slice.
- Applesauce. Look for an unsweetened brand.
- Dried or canned beans. Chickpeas, black beans, and fat-free refried beans are rich in protein.
- Whole wheat couscous cooks just as quickly as the regular kind.
- Brown rice. A great source of whole grains.
- Sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A.
- Whole-grain breakfast cereal. Aim for at least 3 grams of fiber. Ones to try: Raisin Bran, Multi-Bran Chex, or Kashi Heart-to-Heart or Mighty Bites.
- Nuts and seeds. Go for almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Salsa. A zesty way to sneak in more veggies.
- Canned fruit that's packed in juice.
- Jarred pasta sauce. Add extra veggies like shredded zucchini.
- Dried fruit. A half-cup counts as a serving of fruit.
- Salmon and light tuna for salads and sandwiches.
- Peanut butter or other nut butters.
In the Freezer
- Boneless chicken breasts. Add to pasta, salads, and stir-fries.
- Lean ground beef. Buy 90 percent lean.
- Salmon and other low-mercury fish such as cod and tilapia.
- Vegetarian chicken patties. One kid-friendly flavor is MorningStar Farms Parmesan Ranch.
- Frozen veggies. Besides the basics, pick up high-protein edamame.
- Ground turkey. Look for extra lean.
- Veggie burgers made from soy protein.
- Frozen fruit (no sugar added) to eat from the bag or add to smoothies.
Fast Meal: Chicken & Rice
- Brown rice + precut veggies + chicken
Fast Meal: Salad
- Bagged lettuce + canned salmon or tuna + veggies + dried cranberries + reduced-fat salad dressing
Fast Meal: Pasta
Whole-grain pasta + ground-turkey meatballs + jarred pasta sauce
Fast Meal: Healthy Oatmeal
Oatmeal + milk + frozen fruit + almonds (for kids 4 and up)
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